“This is just a great place. It is so welcoming. It’s a mixture of luxury, comfort, and simplicity. And, the English breakfast is amazing! My parents are from Manhattan; I’m from Vermont, and we love to get together here.”
This comment by April Stein is very typical of the guests who enjoy the hospitality at the Inn At Bowman’s Hill in New Hope.
Located at 518 Lurgan Road, the Inn, which is actually a high-end Bed & Breakfast, opened in 2005.
“We are open year-round, and are especially busy on weekends, when we are nearly always 100 percent full. The summer and Christmas time are also very busy,” says owner and Innkeeper Mike Avery.
Located on a 5-plus-acre estate, this exclusive Bed & Breakfast is two miles south of New Hope, and very close to the 100-acre Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, a very popular Bucks County landmark.
The Inn has been named in the Top 10 Most Romantic Bed & Breakfasts in the U.S. by five different organizations, including Forbes Traveler and Trip Advisor.
Guests enjoy walking on the pathways of this splendid estate, taking a dip in the heated swimming pool, lounging in the hot tub, watching the fish in the two koi ponds, and taking time to relax in the beautiful natural setting, amidst extensive woodlands and the sights and sounds of nature.
The Inn is a certified wildlife habitat, points out Mr. Avery. An abundance of flora and fauna, including white-tailed deer, foxes, raccoons, snapping turtles, tree frogs, and large numbers of bird species, adds interest for many guests.
“An ornithologist from Cornell University was here, and either saw or heard 80 different species of birds,” reports Mr. Avery. “One of the things I sometimes forget is what a beautiful environment we live in. The natural beauty we have here — the animals, birds, and flowers.”
The landscaping is indeed lovely, replete with plants and flowers, and tranquil fountains. An orchid conservatory contains an array of beautiful specimens.
The Inn provides eight rooms, including four suites, each with its own fireplace and private bathroom with heated, two-person whirlpool bath. “We have added two new suites this year,” notes Mr. Avery, “and we put in a corner tub with 300 fiber optic stars in the ceiling that twinkle, a shooting star, and also a steam shower with 11 shower heads.”
Spa services at the inn include a variety of different types of massage, he adds.
Born and brought up in England, Mr. Avery traveled extensively, and worked for more than 30 years with Bristol Myers-Squibb, headquartered in Princeton. Changing his focus in 2001, he purchased the Inn (then a private home) and totally renovated it, with a bow to his English heritage.
“Everything has been completely renovated,” he notes, adding, however, “There’s an old saying: ‘There’s nothing new under the sun; just new ways of combining things.’”
The result of his efforts is a handsome and impressive Inn that is a haven for adults of all ages. Not the least of its attractions is the full scale English breakfast, which in the early days of the inn’s existence, Mr. Avery cooked himself. He now employs the services of chef Anastasio, who prepares everything to order.
“Our signature English breakfast includes eggs any style, bacon, sausage, tomato, baked beans, mushroom, and potatoes,” explains Mr. Avery. “We also offer pancakes, fresh syrup, fresh muffins everyday, and eight or nine different juices. Right now, the most popular juice is the orange and carrot combination.”
“We also offer eggs benedict and my own special soufflé omelet 70 percent of the guests choose the full English breakfast.”
They also like the fact that the eggs are from the inn’s own chickens, who live on the estate, and many of the tomatoes, herbs, and vegetables are grown on a nearby farm.
Chef Anastasio can accommodate guests with special dietary needs, adds Mr. Avery. “A lot of people have gluten intolerance now, and we have gluten-free items for them. Anastasio creates wonderful dishes for everyone.”
Attention to detail and mindfulness for each guest’s comfort is the key to the Inn’s success, believes Mr. Avery. “The four important words that describe what our guests experience here are: relax, celebrate, reconnect, and remember. Our guest’s privacy and discretion are our number one priority.
“We have a lot of people who come to celebrate their anniversary. Recently, a couple came to celebrate their 70th! We also had a 92-year-old guest with his 88-year-old bride.
“Some people are rekindling a relationship, and other people might come before they are going into surgery or about to experience some other major event.”
Guests are from all over the U.S. and also abroad, he adds. “We have people from Europe, Asia, and Australia. Our guests include English royalty, musicians, actors, and military officers. It’s a wide spectrum. I very much enjoy the diversity of the people I meet at the Inn. They are really, really interesting individuals.”
He adds that a surprising number of guests are people from nearby New Jersey and Bucks County. “We really get a lot of local guests, just looking for a relaxed or romantic time in a beautiful setting. We have a lot of excellent word-of-mouth and many, many repeat guests. A lot of people also find us on-line today.”
The Inn is also a focal point for executive retreats, he points out. The property is ideally suited for a small group of up to 15 persons, and an excellent setting for brainstorming, strategic planning, and high-level client interaction. “We have a great meeting room, and we get a lot of business from corporations on the Princeton Route One corridor,” says Mr. Avery.
New Hope and the surrounding area offer an array of activities for the Inn At Bowman’s Hill guests. Many fine restaurants, shopping, and sightseeing opportunities are nearby.
A classically-trained musician, Mr. Avery now especially enjoys playing blue grass, and can be found every Sunday night playing at the nearby Bowman’s Tavern. In October, he took a rare three days off to attend a blue grass festival in North Carolina.
Tending to the needs of his guests is a full-time endeavor, and as he says, “Maintenance must be 100 percent. Right now, we are in the midst of changing 700 light bulbs to LED. This will cut our lighting expenses.
“In this day and age, you are judged every day in the court of public opinion. We work very hard to please our guests, and this is a way to make people happy.”
In addition, giving back to others is an important part of Mr. Avery’s philosophy, This is particularly in evidence every Veteran’s Day, when six rooms at the inn are given free of charge to currently-serving military men and women and veterans. A special musical program is also presented for them.
“This is a part of the ‘Better Way to Stay’ national program,” explains Mr. Avery, “and it is something we look forward to doing every year.”
The Inn at Bowman’s Hill is open year-round. (215) 862-8090. Website: theinnatbowmanshill.com.